One of the best offbeat international holidays you can treat yourself to are the ones spent exploring the nature’s wild, more so if you are a wildlife enthusiast. Ranking high amongst the best places to go wildlife exploring is Kenya. The world’s wildlife capital boasts of being the natural habitat of some of the most majestic animals, as well as the place where the endangered rhinoceros continue to thrive.
The best time to go on a Kenya wildlife safari is between June and October, which, being the dry season, ensures that you spend maximum time on the ground and see the best of the flourishing Savannah and its inhabitants.
Often called the greatest wildlife destination on earth, Maasai Mara in Narok County witnesses the phenomenon of the Great Migration – where every year a huge population of Thomson’s gazelles, wildebeests and zebras travel thousands of miles under the close watch of predators like Maasai lions and African leopards. You can explore the vast sea of grasslands and the open plains in the morning safari, where the smell of moist grass permeates into your being or experience the thrilling game drives in the afternoon safari.
Spending nearly 3 days in the reserve spread across 1510 sq. km and crisscrossed by Mara and Talek rivers, you can sight gazelles, hippopotami, lions, the once nearly-extinct black rhinoceros, large roan antelopes, nocturnal bat-eared fox, hyenas, cheetahs, leopards and wildebeests in a safari-style van. For those who don’t mind spending some extra bucks, 5-star luxury wildlife safaris are also available. The food is simple but delicious – included within the safari, and can be enjoyed with Kenya’s Tusker beer purchased separately.
A must-visit for bird lovers, Lake Nakuru is famous for its shallow saline lake adorned by a multitude of pink flamingos and white pelicans. The National Park surrounding the lake contains about 550 different plant species and 400 migratory bird species and is also home to the biggest Euphorbia forest.
Spread across 188 sq. km, the park promises spectacular landscapes and Acacia woodlands, dotted by stunning waterfalls and cliffs that house Colobus monkeys, leopards, cheetahs, lions and rhinos – making it an absolute treat for wildlife photographers. If you’re lucky, you might even spot the famous white rhinoceros. Apart from flamingos and pelicans, the other birds to watch out for are African fish eagles, pied kingfishers, hammerkops and Goliath herons.
Large sized pythons crossing your way or dangling from trees make for more adrenaline kicks as you go about exploring the park, which has a cool weather and green environs through the year.
Amboseli National Park
One of the best national parks you can visit on an international wildlife tour, Amboseli is a thrilling game reserve with large free-ranging elephants and other African wild beasts. This Rift Valley park is located 240 km southeast of Nairobi and is characterised by swampy springs, savannahs and woodlands.
The park will surely keep you hooked to the diversity of wildlife it offers – the Big 5 – lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and cape buffaloes and cheetah, wildebeest, hyena, hippopotamus, giraffe and zebra. Species of birds like hammerkop, kingfisher, pelican and raptor can also be sighted, especially if you take the safari around noon, when animals come out in the open.
The Observation Hill offers a nice panoramic view of the weary ground as well as the dried-up Lake Amboseli bed. Not to miss is the highest freestanding mountain of the world – Mount Kilimanjaro, which makes for a perfect backdrop while you enjoy intriguing game drives.
To make the most of your time at this Kenyan wildlife safari, we recommend staying in one of the lodges in the area while keeping some time aside for soaking in the wonderful Masai culture with the locals.
Aberdare National Park
Aberdare is a place for people who want to move beyond the conventional definition of safari. A high altitude national park mostly lying above the tree line, it is the perfect part of a customised Kenya holiday plan for topography enthusiasts.
The major attractions are camping in the moorlands, trout fishing, bird sighting and game viewing in mountainous terrain covered in a thick blanket of tropical forests. Steep forested ravines and picturesque moorlands house black rhinos, spotted hyenas, leopards, warthogs, bushbucks, olive baboons and black and white Colobus monkeys. Giant Forest hog, bongo, golden cat and serval cat make up for other rare sightings. While hiking in the misty forest with magnificent waterfalls like the three-step Karuru Falls, you can also sight the rare black leopard and Bongo antelope.
Another adrenaline pumping activity to undertake while on this offbeat international holiday is animal viewing at the waterholes at night, near the lodges within the park.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy
A mosaic of grass plains and Acacia woodlands located at the foothills of Aberdare Mountains, this Conservancy provides an experience you may want to repeat! Activities like safari game walks, night safaris, camel and horse rides and even hand-feeding rhinos are popular in this vast and stunning expanse of open plains. Apart from the four-hour safari, you can also opt for special tracking excursions to track the lion population in the early morning or late evening.
With the endangered black rhinos and the only two Northern white rhinos in the world, this 350 sq. km conservancy also houses the Big 5, non-indigenous chimpanzees, apes and other wild animals.
This conservancy works to conserve wildlife, provide a sanctuary for great apes as well as provide an unforgettable experience to wildlife lovers.
Kenya is the mecca for all wildlife enthusiasts, and if you have not yet seen the Big 5, it’s time to pack your bags for an international wildlife tour. Indians have not yet caught on the trend, so go ahead, book a Kenya tour package and explore the variety of wildlife in the highlands and the vast woods